Petersburg High School’s varsity basketball teams have a short break for Christmas before heading on the road for games in Ketchikan. The boys and girls teams opened up the season at home with a combined five wins and one loss at the Little Norway tournament last weekend.
The Petersburg’s girls team started off the season winning the Little Norway tournament with three victories. The Lady Vikings beat Wrangell Thursday night 44-17. Chandler Strickland was top scorer for Petersburg in that game with 10 points while Kylie Wallace added nine. Petersburg topped Haines 51-32 the next night. Wallace led the team with 18 points and Ruby Brock had eight. Then on Saturday the girls made it three in a row with a 56-29 win over Cordova. Wallace scored 15 points and Adanna Kvernvik scored nine.

Coach Dino Brock was happy to get points from numerous players off the bench. “The younger players, the freshmen, sophomores got playing time this weekend,” Brock said. “So that’s always really cool to see, their excitement when they get to step on the floor and play high school basketball and varsity basketball for the opening weekends.”

The team has a solid core of more experienced players who have been playing basketball and volleyball together for many years. Ruby Brock and Kylie Wallace were named to the all-tournament team. Wallace also won the hot shot competition.

After decades of playing in the 3A conference, Petersburg drops down to 2A this year, re-igniting traditional rivalries against schools like Wrangell, Haines, Metlakatla and Craig. They leave behind conference games against the two larger 3A schools in Sitka but Brock doesn’t think it will be a problem getting fired up for 2A competition.

“I think for us we’ll just continue to play hard, it’s just kind of the nature of the girls,” he said. “I’m pretty excited to be able to go down to Metlakatla, you know Haines and Craig, places again that I haven’t been for a few years. It’ll be fun.”

Brock said he’s not sure what the other Southeast 2A squads look like this year because they haven’t been playing those teams in the past few years. Meanwhile, Brock said his team has been practicing over the Christmas break. “We have 17 kids out right now this year but only 13 here, so four are gone for different reasons over break. But the kids are coming in in the mornings, doing a good job, working hard.”

The Lady Vikings open up the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic in Ketchikan December 28. They start off against Ketchikan’s junior varsity.

The boys team is 2-1 to start out the season, losing their opening game to Thunder Mountain 53-40. Boys coach Rick Brock thought the tournament was a good start to the season. “It was a good opening for us, a good tournament,” he said. “The first night against Thunder Mountain you could tell for both teams that it was their first game of the year, kind of sloppy play. As the tournament went on I watched both teams play much better.”

Petersburg had the lead at halftime in that game against Thunder Mountain but fell behind in the second half with the Falcons clamping down on defense.

The following two games against Haines and Cordova, Petersburg’s offense stayed strong throughout, and the Vikings beat Haines 69-26 on Friday and Cordova 69-45 on Saturday. Blaine Volk won the free throw contest for the tournament, Allan McKay won the hot shot competition, Stewart Conn was named to the all tournament team and Kjell Witstock won the teammate award.

Like the girls team, the Viking boys return an experienced line up from last year’s varsity. “Yeah we have 10 varsity guys back,” Brock said. “Really eight, seven of them played quite a bit last year so, first time in a long time we have a good core of kids back with a lot of varsity experience under their belt.”

Like his brother, Brock welcomes the change to 2A this year and the chance to restart old rivalries. “You know we were in the same conference with Haines and Metlakatla, Wrangell and Craig for many, many, many years and just the last three years we’ve been with just Mt. Edgecumbe and Sitka. So, you know it’s small town basketball and it’s quality basketball and I was telling the boys they’ll get a different feel when we travel with the teams and you go into the communities and everybody knows why you’re there and everybody will show up at the gym and cheer against you and it’s exciting so.”

Before getting into conference play in January, the Vikings will be taking on some 3A and 4A schools in Ketchikan. Petersburg plays the day after Christmas in Ketchikan for a game against the Kayhi Kings. Then on Monday, they open up the Clarke Cochrane Classic against Mountain View a 3A school from Auburn, Washington.

KFSK will be broadcasting the Clark Cochrane games from Ketchikan on Monday.